Snowbound by Janice Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Snowbound was a very pleasant read. I liked the snowed-in aspect with Fiona, who was a teacher who coached a high school trivia team, and John, an Iraqi war veteran who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I loved and felt for John. I mostly liked Fiona, but I didn't like the way she handled John's issues. She was bulldozing him into dealing with his PTSD. I didn't like the ultimatum she delivered. She seemed to think he was supposed to all of a sudden become an open book. It doesn't work that way. Falling in love doesn't wave a magic wand and cause a person to open up and lance their wounds. Especially with men, it's hard for them to deal with that kind of hurt easily. And some people aren't able to share their pain with others so easily, and when others guilt them into it, it really feels wrong to me. I think she was insensitive about it, and that bothered me. I know that John had issues and he was doing the ostrich thing, but time would help him, and I think that Fiona could have been more understanding.
I actually liked the aspect of the kids being snowed in with John and Fiona. I have a love/hate thing with teenagers in fiction (and having taught young adults, I definitely got my fill of their often bad attitudes). Their sullenness can be annoying (although I freely admit I was one of those withdrawn, sometimes sullen teens myself). But Ms. Johnson managed to write a lively bunch. I liked the way that Fiona and John approached and dealt with the eight kids, getting them to work together and get along when they are snowed in at John's lodge. I liked how most of the kids pitched in to help matchmake between John and Fiona.
Although most of this book only has a small part set during Christmas, I still enjoyed the setting, with the snowed-in winter environs, and John and Fiona building a bond between that leads to a lifelong love that starts when Fiona and her kids end up on John's doorstep.
This book turned out to be a weak four star because of the way Fiona annoyed me. But, the other aspects were very good, and I just wanted to give John a hug.
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